People asked me in college what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up’, and I responded without hesitation: a panhandler. They have a pretty sweet gig, with all their tax free income, being their own boss and making their own hours. I would try to work the Vietnam vet angle with a crutch or possibly wheelchair, in camouflage fatigues, but I don’t think anyone would buy it. Maybe I could go for the “down-on-her-luck-stripper”, offering pole dances for spare change. I think that ruse would work better if I had a bastard child, but I’m not willing to get knocked up to perpetuate the angle.
It’s the lies on the signs that kind of piss me off. Like there’s this one in Uptown that has a sign that says “Homeless from Katrina, Please help a family in need.” He was smart, and misspelled a few words, because no one trusts a panhandler who is too articulate. I have never seen a family with him, but I have seen him drop off money at his car in a nearby parking lot. If he was just more honest, or at least came up with a better quality pack of lies, I could respect him more. Like the college kid who just needed money for beer. His sign said that. I gave him a dollar, because with my penchant for 7 dollar cocktails, I entirely understand not having enough money for drinks.
In the heart of Uptown, the panhandlers are all artsy, and I appreciate that they are playing instruments or singing, because it’s as if they are trying to earn handouts. However, the quality of their music sucks, and I would much rather the crazy panhandlers that dance around and scream at the sky; THAT’S entertainment! I approve of their low-pressure techniques of “selling themselves”, because they don’t technically beg… they just sit there with a sign. It is lazy, but then again they panhandle, so I don’t expect too much of a work ethic and drive to succeed. What I don't understand is where they the money for the markers to write on the signs? If they were really hard up, they would burn the cardboard to keep warm.
The dictionary described a hobo as one who wanders from place to place without at home, or means of livelihood. I call bullshit. In Minneapolis, under the overpass where 394 becomes 94W, they even have the hobo Hilton, where they keep their tents, shopping carts full of cans, and other important. And the panhandling on the street corner is their means and place of livelihood; listen up republicans, we can tax their asses! Just like Katrina hobo, the majority of these smelly dbags are legitimately homeless. I saw one guy with ipod wires. If he is homeless, where is he docking that? When we were out last Friday, Landon came up with the term “hobo cockblocking”, in which we would sit down next to the hobo with our own, more convincing signs and ensure he doesn’t get any money. We might not get any either, but it would definitely mess up his game. Bums are comparable to trolls, charging you money to let you pass, using their weapons of guilt and filth. Hobo Cockblocking effectively takes away their powers, and puts you back in the drivers position of the shopping cart.